In a bid to save the government air-carrier Air India, government sources on Tuesday, have said that a Group Of Ministers (GoM) led by Home Minister Amit Shah have approved Expression of Interest (EOI) for disinvestment of Air India, according to PTI. Moreover, a share purchase agreement for the air-carrier's sale will be issued by January 2020, said an official. The government is currently in the process of selling its 100% stake in cash-strapped Air India.
Group of Ministers approve Expression of Interest (EOI), share purchase agreement for Air India sale: Official— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) January 7, 2020
Earlier on January 2, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at a meeting with the Air India employees' Union, reassured them that AI will be operational till its privatisation process is complete. Earlier on Monday, an Air India official had stated that the national carrier will be forced to shut down if a concrete solution to save the company is not found. But Air India chief and the Union Minister have stayed firm that the government has no option but to privatise Air India.
Air India is surviving on repeated taxpayer bailouts by the government while it reels under a debt load of near Rs 58,000 crores. The government has been planning to sell the cash-strapped company and has set an aim to do so by March 2020. Currently, there are 800 pilots in the union. However, according to the letter by the ICPA, 65 pilots have already tendered their resignation and are serving the six-month notice period.
The Centre, on June 27, had decided to go ahead with the disinvestment of the national carrier Air India. Previously, Puri shared that volatile crude oil prices & adverse fluctuations in exchange rates in March 2018, made it an inconducive atmosphere to proceed with disinvestment. He had said that the sale would be revisited once the global economic indicators including oil prices and foreign exchange conditions stabilize.
According to the Central Government, it has infused funds to the tune of Rs 30,520.21 crore in Air India from the financial year 2011-12 till December this year. The government is drawing plans to privatise the carrier but has so far failed to get it through. The main hurdle that experts say has derailed the carrier's privatisation plan is investor scare of its oversized staff and debt obligations.